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Hauke Meyerhoff, Markus Huff, Stephan Schwan; Visual search for chasing objects among distractors. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1246. doi: 10.1167/13.9.1246.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
For decades, anthropomorphic interactions (e.g., chasing, fighting, etc.) between two or more objects have been an important tool to study perceptual animacy (Scholl & Tremoulet, 2000, TiCS). Recent research revealed that differently salient chases induce animate impressions parametrically and that these impressions can be measured psychophysically (Gao et al., 2009, Cognitive Psychology). These prerequisites allowed studying the link between perceptual animacy and visual attention. This line of research demonstrated that chasing objects do not arise effortlessly out of displays including distractors. Instead, an effortful visual search is necessary to detect chasing objects (Meyerhoff et al., in press, JEP:HPP). However, there are no distinctive visual cues on chasing objects that might guide attention during chasing detection. Therefore, the current set of experiments explores several variants of the chasing detection paradigm in order to investigate how human observers search for a chase among distractors. In Experiment 1, we investigate whether participants search for cues suggesting the presence or absence of a chase. Our results suggest that observers search for cues suggesting the presence of a chase because participants are faster in detecting a chase among non-chases than vice versa. In Experiment 2, we demonstrate that inter-object spacing is a powerful cue indicating the presence of a chase because chasing detection latencies decrease with decreasing inter-object spacing. Finally, Experiments 3 and 4 investigate whether participants search for a pair of chasing objects or for an individual object that is involved in a chase. Our results indicate that participants are faster in detecting chasing objects than objects being chased. Furthermore, a linear increase in response latencies with the number of objects in the display suggests that participants search for individual objects. In sum, our experiments suggest that observers search for one object that is approaching another object during chasing detection.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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